Taking a “Value Based” Approach to Dental Sleep Medicine


A recent article titled “Value-based Dental Sleep Medicine” by Emerson M. Wickwire, PhD was published in Sleep Review Journal and addresses an important concept that dentists should adopt.

The concept of value based care has been around for quite some time in the medical field. Now that dentists are crossing over to medicine to treat serious conditions such as sleep apnea, they must recognize the degree of stakeholders involved.

Obviously, the patient is a major stakeholder and dentists who can connect with patient’s desire to improve well-being and overall health is more important than technical aspects such as AHI as he references. The largest gap for dentists in my opinion exists in understanding the value that payers and physicians are looking for. This often takes form in overall health outcomes and health system costs. These are bigger picture items that dentists have not had too much experience with.

Both referring physicians and payers have been historically skeptical that dentists are in this for themselves and fail to understand the system implications on cost and population health. If dental sleep medicine wishes to grow, dentists must change their mindset from a siloed, fee for service model, to one that is focused truly on coordinating care and helping reduce health system costs.

The article can be referenced at the link below for further reading: 


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Jeff Burton